How many times have you heard pundits, experts, retail associates and reporters incorrectly refer to Windows Phone 8 as Windows 8 Phone? In the future they may be right…
Wednesday April 17 2013
There has been a lot of work put into syncing profiles across devices in Windows 8+. Perhaps you only need one device…
Friday March 15 2013
Thursday March 7 2013
This is entirely based on thought, guesswork, what’s really needed, what’s possible, and wishful thinking at worst. It is not based on any communication or disclosure from Microsoft (directly or indirectly).
Microsoft – note the short branding style.
Update: The Build 2013 conference has been announced for June 26th, 27th & 28th. This is around the time that the Surface devices were announced last year. A big negative comment around Build 2011 was that there wasn’t a lot of developer information prior to Build 2011. Leaked builds aside, an early conference this year could help appease developers ahead of the Windows Blue release. However, a criticism for the Surface announcement in 2012 was that there were no pre-order date given. A much earlier conference this year may not provide for any new device pre-order announcements if we are looking at an autumn timeframe for new device availability, unless Microsoft has been very busy at work and such devices are coming sooner that we think – an end-of-August date (6 months after the Surface Pro) would tick all the right boxes for back-to-school and stay out of the way of the next Xbox release.
Update: Speculation is moving towards reality – Paul Thurrott of Winsupersite claims that Microsoft will ship an 8" device in 2013. So read 8" instead of 7" below, providing almost 200DPI if the resolution is 1366×768.
Queue wavy dream sequence to summer announcements…
Surface Mini – $299
Windows 8 is now available on the the 7” Surface Mini (for $300), which includes Office 2014 RT store apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote (with no business license), limited or NO desktop, and is compatible with the new Surface Dock (Pro) (see below). It features a low-power I3 equivalent, 2GB RAM and 32GB SSD. Battery time is 8+ hours.
Surface Mini Pro – $399
Also in the mini series is the 7” Surface Mini Pro (for $400), which includes Windows Pro, Office 2014 RT Pro (which add a store version of Outlook with an Office business license), a desktop with app compat, domain join, management group policy with system center/InTune, and docks fantastically using the Surface Dock (Pro) with no DPI issues. It features a low-power I5 equivalent, not ARM, 4GB RAM and 64GB SSD. Battery time is 6+ hours. There are WAN model options for $50 more.
Mini users can upgrade their OS to Windows Pro for $150 (but of course don’t get the physical RAM or SSD upgrade).
Both devices come with 2xUSB 3.0, 1xDP (plus DP-HDMI adapter), pen digitizer, WiFi, Bluetooth 4, GPS, Compass, Accelerometer, Gyro, NFC. They are compatible with existing Surface power supplies and DisplayPort accessories, but not keyboards. Buyers are encouraged to buy other Microsoft Bluetooth keyboards.
Surface Dock – $49
There’s also the Surface Stand Charger for $50 which is a wireless charger for the Mini Series, with magnetic power-in connector and a bluetooth receiver with 1 DisplayPort out connector.
Surface Dock Pro – $99
The Surface Dock Pro ($100) features a 3-port USB 3.0 hub, the previously mythical DisplayPort MST hub with 3 ports and 1 DP-HDMI adapter, 1000-baseT Ethernet, and magnetic power-in connector. The Mini series connects to the dock in portrait or landscape using one of the two strategically placed USB 3.0 ports also providing wireless charging.
Surface Xbox Mini – $299
The Surface Xbox Mini is a 7” game/companion device at $300 – essentially a Surface Mini with no Office (though available as apps to buy in the store for $100) but increased GPU power. The battery lasts for 4+ hours of game play.
Windows RT –> Windows Phone
The Surface with Windows RT (aka Surface RT) is discontinued. Windows on ARM is now solely the foundation for new WP8 Blue devices which are becoming more like Windows RT, and are compatible with the Surface Dock (Pro) for desktop docking, video display and charging!!! Your desktop is now in your pocket allowing you to dock and use Windows RT on external monitors.
Windows now successfully covers tablets that become your desktop with Surface Mini Pro and phones that become your desktop with Windows Phone.
Surface Screen Adapter – $49
Turn any HDMI or VGA display into a single wireless screen for your Windows 8 tablet or phone (!) device with Bluetooth 3.0+HS or higher.
Surface Pro 2 – $799
Windows 8 is also available on the Surface Pro 2 (which now starts $799 with 8GB RAM), featuring the lower power Intel chipset with battery life lasting 6+ hours, and is compatible with the Surface Dock Pro, but not for wireless charging. It adds in all missing sensors.
Surface Lap Cover – $149
The Lap Cover is also available for both the Surface Pro & the Surface Pro 2 which is similar to the Type Cover, but providing a locking angle for the screen without the stand and includes a battery which (when combined with the system battery) provides 8+ hours of use for the Pro, and 10+ hours with the Pro 2.
For $600 CxO and IWs are snapping up Surface Mini Pros with WAN, a Dock and a keyboard. Some are saving $200 off the device with a new mobile provider 3-year plan.
The $300 Surface Mini and Surface Xbox Mini become the fastest selling tablets ever during Dec 2013, with families buying multiple units from back to school to xmas.
Then, there’s the ‘Xbox 720′…
Wednesday December 5 2012
Let’s take a quick look at the TP713 I recently bought and just plugged in. Is it for you?
How do you choose from the spectrum of Windows 8 hardware? I’ll take you through some of the things I considered to help you along the journey.
Microsoft has made bold moves on the software and hardware front for consumers with the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT, introducing the new WinRT application development platform for building Windows Store Apps. WinRT brings a new style of touch-first user experience, a sand-boxed application runtime with contract-based inter-app communication, a mobile-optimized execution lifecycle and rich notification support. Would you like a jump-start on building your new Windows Store app for Windows 8?
For just $299 on Wed Dec 12th, you get a full day of developer training including in-depth explanation, demonstration, code sample walkthroughs and end-to-end application building. Most training companies charge $400+ a day. And yes, I’m doing the training .
While you’re looking at it, you may also want to consider the main 2-day DevTeach conference on Monday Dec 10th.
See you there!
Sunday March 11 2012
- Use of a Windows Azure application server instance is now just USD$15 a month.
- A SQL database starts at just $5 a month.
- Data transfer is $0.12 per GB (inbound is free)
- There’s a free trial offer with lots built-in, and other discount packages available.
This is now at a price-point that is very competitive with discount hosting providers, but even better when you consider the Platform as a Service capabilities, SLA and scalability offered when you start putting things together…
Since the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Summit and the release of Windows 8 beta, I’ve been making serious use of my Windows Build conference tablet in different situations. Sometimes (due to chosen hardware, dead mouse batteries, etc.) I didn’t have input access via touch, keyboard or mouse. It’s even possible to find oneself having only one more of access. This can make getting around Windows more interesting, but Microsoft has made practically every navigation action available through all input modes. I’ve created a list of how to do major Windows 8 navigation using each of these input modes…
Wednesday August 10 2011
It seems to be increasing said these days, that software solutions are moving away from the desktop and to the cloud and mobile space. There’s more to be said about this which I’ll blog about soon, but let’s just agree that this leads to at one possible conclusion – we need to be able to develop sufficiently rich client-based solutions that run on both desktops and a wide variety of mobile devices that all connect to the cloud. If we add the requirement that we want to reach as many users and devices as possible on the client-side, with a single ‘base’ of code (and we aren’t too fussy about immersive UI, richness of experience, deep access to local resources and to varying extents, and very high development productivity/maintainability), then we are often lead to the door of HTML. With ‘HTML5’, we can even be fussy about a few things too.
Microsoft is making its platforms capable of running those HTML5 solutions. Currently this means IE9 on the Windows desktop and now also IE9 on Windows Phone 7.5 (now RTM’d and due on phones this fall). We’ll likely see more native platform support for HTML5 solutions in Windows 8 with IE10. Given the right use of HTML of course, a solution for Windows desktop and phone, should also work on a large range of HTML5-compatible desktop browsers and mobile devices.
Here’s the same hardware-accelerated HTML5 content running on IE9 and Windows Phone Mango.
Getting started with HTML5 development on Windows
Doing rich HTML5 stuff
The easiest way to learn about new HTML5 is to see some in action and check behind the scenes. To demonstrate the great HTML5 and hardware-accelerated capabilities of IE9 on the Windows desktop and Windows Phone, Microsoft created two ‘testdrive’ sites. They include some great and diverse examples as well as links to useful resources.
http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive for IE9 on the desktop
http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/mobile (which works on the phone and the desktop)
Detecting desktop vs. mobile browsers
One of the key issues to tackle when creating an HTML5 application that will work on the desktop and on mobile, is getting the right layout experience for the screen size, ideally using the same markup. CSS3 Media Queries are a great solution here. The test site includes an example of this (see entry in screenshot above). In addition I’d suggest watching this video from Mix 2011 as well as this blog entry from the Windows Phone team (by the same Joe Marini that did the jQuery bootcamp at Mix).
Dealing with down-level browsers/capabilities
Of course a good solution should deal gracefully with down-level browsers and missing HTML5 capabilities, especially given that the specification is still in flux. On many existing websites, this is still handled on the server side by looking at the User Agent string provided by the browser application, and delivering browser-specific content. In the new client-side world, it’s often better to detect the browser capabilities in the client code and enact progressive enhancements to the user experience based on what specific features the browser has. If the browser cannot do some of the new HTML5 goodness, you may want to consider a ‘Polyfill’. To help detect browser capabilities, there’s a library called Modernizr, and a number of Polyfills available to handle missing capabilities that Modernizr can detect.
I hope this has given you an idea of how you can start to test drive HTML5 experiences and development on the Windows desktop, upcoming Windows Phone 7.5/Mango phones and beyond on to other ‘HTML5-ready’ browses and devices.